Workers Day: Your Job May Not Be Available Tomorrow

By Ikenga Chronicles May 1, 2019

Workers Day: Your Job May Not Be Available Tomorrow

—Henry Oghwere,

The rainy season is one of the best times for farmers. It helps them with the growth process of their crops. So, when the meteorological agency releases their report for the yearly weather forecast, we are looking at potentials as well as risks for the weather. The food industry therefore can suffer if the effects of rainfall becomes adverse for farmers or maybe not.

The world has opened up to the possibility of the role of genetic engineering in shaping the food industry especially in developed countries. The acceptance did not come on a platter as it took Aquabounty Technology two decades to get the US Regulatory bodies to approve the consumption of the genetically modified AquaAdvantage Salmon fish whose original specie is Atlantic Salmon. The difference is the growth time which 16-18months for the genetically modified fish as compared to the natural specie growth phase of 36 months. 

If you are an employee in Aquabounty Technology, you will be proud of what your company has accomplished. You will support technology enhancement because you are experiencing positive effects. Unfortunately, not all technologies will be accepted because it comes with “disruption”. Consider the last twenty years when the almighty Kodak ruled the photography industry and employees were proud of their jobs until they went extinct by failing to innovate their own invention by Steve Sasson. Your job is beautiful but what happens in the next twenty years?

Workers round the globe seek for better wages, better treatment and better environment because they believe they are productive and deserving. The key word to think about is productivity as Ford noted in his company’s Ford News in October 1926, “Just as the eight-hour day opened our way to prosperity in America, so the five-day workweek will open our way to still greater prosperity … It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either lost time or a class privilege.” The Ford Motors decision brought better treatment to the workers as other industry and eventually the US congress and the world adopted the 40 hour work week. 

Today, the demands of workers are ever increasing as the employers want more results. The type of work is changing and as we have come to discover, there is a gap between what psychology knows about results and what enterprise and industries actually do. Workers want more money and most believe the more money paid to workers will increase productivity.  

In his book, Drive, Dan Pink clearly explains that money has a limit to improving productivity. In facts, it works for rote task or algorithmic task where the individual relies on repetitiveness of the process to achieve results. As demonstrated by the candle problem of Karl D. in 1945, money rarely influences creative task. Interestingly, this brings us into the future of work as most innovations are results of algorithmic task or Artificial Intelligence; your phone can ring the alarm but it won’t wake you up. Your app can download the song and play it but it can’t decide how you feel. There are certain parts of our nature that can’t be digitalized. Therefore, if your job can be done without passion, ingenuity or resourcefulness, then you will be out of the markets in the next decade. 

You don’t think so? Think again, the 4G revolution added over $160bn to the US economy in 2016. Most secretarial jobs have become extinct. The rising of the crowd is creating a more effective way to get results across the globe; what this means is that you can hire a designer in Japan, buy your materials in Indonesia and get a 3D printed device in China then sell your products in Ghana and that’s if you don’t want to use digital(Facebook, instagram, Google AdWords) marketing.  As a lawyer, one click may give all the precedents to present your case. All the judgement in the court can be at your disposal with an app. Not to discus the massive investments going on with IoT (Internet of Things). 

What should you be thinking and what should you be doing? The workers day idea of always asking for more should not be the problem of the unions or his members. You should be advocating for capacity development and result oriented work environment. You should be canvassing for collaboration between private enterprise and public policy to strengthen the employment rate. You should be thinking about how to use your time, technique, task and colleagues to improve productivity. 

One of the major task you should decide to research on is the effect of Information Technology on your job. You should celebrate workers day not for the event but for the opportunity to make the world a better place for your children’s sake. Finally, you should ask yourself; will your job still be available if all the trending innovations are implemented today in your department?

Happy Workers Day